Posts Tagged ‘Advertising’
In one of my online discussion groups, someone recently asked what sort of successful offline strategies for book promotion published authors have used. I’ve adapted part of my response for this post and hope that if you are a published author you’ll share one or two of your successful offline strategies for marketing your book.
When you start to develop the offline marketing plan for your book, your first questions should be:
- Who is my audience?
- Where are they likely to look for the kind of book I have written?
How you answer those questions will help determine which offline strategies you might consider. The following suggestions have worked for me as well as for some of my ghostwriting clients who asked for tips on marketing. Of course there are other strategies you can pursue, but these will get you started on developing a marketing plan for your book.
If you are publishing your book through a traditional publisher, the two of you will discuss who does what. (Most authors publish with smaller houses, which assume the author will be responsible for much of the marketing.) Just expect to handle a fair amount of the marketing and promotion yourself, unless you are a celebrity with wide name recognition or your book is so compelling that the big publishing houses are engaged in a frenzied bidding war to land your manuscript. (Compelling? It’s a code word that means “appears poised to make huge sales.”)
If you are self-publishing, then you are the publisher, of course, and in that case will especially want to pick and choose among those strategies that are likely to give you the most return (that is, book sales) for the time and effort invested.
Get all the reviews you can. Work with your publisher to have the book sent around to the most appropriate journals, magazines, digests, newspapers and other publications for review. See if your publisher will actually handle sending the review copies: this is a big job, and if your publisher is willing and already has a database full of contacts, be grateful. (And possibly consider sending your publisher a lovely thank-you note and fabulous flowers or delectable chocolates). If you are really lucky, your publisher will also track and assemble the review clippings, and send copies of them to you. Reviews serve many purposes; one of the most important is to help generate orders from bookstores, book clubs and other outlets.
Get out there and give interviews! Follow up on the press releases and review copies that have already been sent out by contacting local and national magazines, journals, newspapers, and radio and TV stations to set up interviews. Naturally, you’ll want to target those that are appropriate for your book, so when you make your pitch, be sure you know how your book is relevant to the publication’s or show’s audience—in other words, be able to tell them why they should interview you as opposed to another of the many authors who are also trying to snag an interview. Bonus: Since many publications and stations also have a website, your interview just might also appear online in written form or, in some cases, as a podcast.
Some nonfiction books lend themselves beautifully to seminars. If you decide that seminars make sense as part of your promotion strategy, consider structuring the fee to include a copy of your book for each participant.
Would speaking engagements work for your book? Many authors spread the word by speaking to professional associations, special-interest groups, conferences and other organizations. Tip: Ask if they can give your book a plug in their handouts and publicity (don’t assume they’ll just do it; be sure to ask and offer to supply the copy or advertising insert). Also, make sure you always have plenty of books on hand to sell on site; alternatively, you might arrange for a local bookstore to handle sales of your book at the event.
Before and after your book is published, consider writing articles about your book’s subject for relevant magazines, newspapers and journals. If you can manage a column, you’ll derive even more exposure. You might also approach selected publications and pitch excerpts from your book. The point is to get your book and your name in front of your audience, grab their attention, and motivate them to buy a copy. Bonus: Like other authors, you’ll probably find that the experience and the clips will have many future uses.
What about readings and book signings at bookstores, libraries, book clubs and similar venues? Although many writers dreamily imagine reading to large crowds of enraptured fans and signing books for long lines of adoring readers, in reality those events often seem to work best (that is, they produce the most traffic and sales) for well-known/celebrity writers or for topics that attract hordes of readers, no matter who the author is. Test the market for this type of event by talking with your local booksellers and librarians.
Whatever set of strategies you select to incorporate into your marketing plan—good luck!
Now it’s your turn: Have you used any of these strategies to market your book? What worked best for you? What other offline promotion efforts produced book sales for you? Take part in the conversation by leaving comments – thanks! Elizabeth Lexleigh LexPower The Write Ideas
What does it take to improve the visibility of your web page or website in a search engine’s results list? Can you actually improve your search-engine ranking? And, most important, is that what really drives more visitors to your page or site?
A lot has been written about search engine optimization (SEO) and its value as an Internet marketing strategy.
Over the years, of course, search engines have caught on to so-called black-hat techniques, often referred to as spamdexing, which can get a page or site removed from a search engine’s index. So ethical website designers have learned to avoid bad practices like link farming, keyword stuffing and article spinning. And beyond the ethics question, to my knowledge there has never been any clear-cut evidence that such tricks ever really worked without any massaging of the results data.
Legitimate practices for optimizing a web page or site, the so-called white-hat techniques, include backlinking, removing barriers to the search engines’ indexing activities, cross-linking between a website’s pages and URL normalization.
Perhaps the most important technique of all, however, is to create worthwhile content that is truly relevant to your audience and also contains the keywords that your audience is most likely to use in their search queries. Place those keywords on pages, in title tags and in meta descriptions.
In my opinion, content wins, hands down, over other website-based methods of optimizing for search engines. Here’s why:
- In order to create content that is relevant and useful for your audience, you have to know your audience. This requires research, analysis and thoughtful consideration, not black-hat tricks.
- To develop keywords that make it easy for your target audience to find your web page or site, you must know how your audience thinks. You’ll probably have to dig a little to figure out which search terms your audience tends to use, run some tests and get feedback.
- To make your web page or site compelling enough to draw visitors, your content has to be useful, interesting and well written. Great page design and graphics certainly help, but those alone won’t save your site if your visitors decide the content is not worth the trip.
- Finally, to keep ‘em coming back for more, you must keep your site’s content fresh. So update and tweak as often as needed, which will depend on your company’s overall marketing objectives, the site’s purpose and your audience’s needs.
Gee, it’s beginning to sound as though you might need a marketing plan, isn’t it? Which is exactly where I think SEO belongs: as one part (and only one part) of your marketing plan.
What do you think? Do you use SEO? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment. Elizabeth Lexleigh LexPower The Write Ideas
Have you ever had to ask someone to do something and then motivate them to act?
Maybe you’re trying to get people to donate to your cause, or prompt a customer to pay a bill, or inspire your employees to adopt a procedure, or get a company to give you a job interview, or ask strangers to vote for you. All sorts of situations require us to write persuasively in order to get what we want.
Swaying someone’s mind can be hard work, as we all know. So here are some tips for a better shot at achieving your goals:
What Is Your Purpose?
Before you begin the first draft, decide: What is the purpose of the piece I am writing? What is it exactly that I want my readers to do?
Be very specific in your answer, because your stated purpose becomes the focus for every detail, statistic, set of results, observation, fact, argument and data point you will include. Everything must support your purpose.
Who Is Your Audience?
To persuade people, you must know who they are, so that you can find a point of agreement where they can say “oh yeah, that’s true,” or “that’s right,” and get on board with you.
This means you need to identify who your audience is. Are they individuals you know? Consumers? Retailers? Strangers? Companies in a particular industry? People who have a certain type of job? Members who belong to a specific organization? People in a certain age group?
Research your audience as much as possible. Get all the demographic data you can. And then be prepared to make some general assumptions as well.
What Does Your Audience Care About?
Once you know who your audience is, you should be able to define the kinds of arguments they will respond to. This will help you determine whether to lean toward the logical or the emotional.
You also need to define the kinds of issues they care about. What moves your audience? Where do their interests lie? What are their touchpoints, those areas where they feel they have some skin in the game?
When in doubt, paint the issues with a broad brushstroke, so you include as many people as possible.
What Tone Works?
The tone you use in writing reveals your attitudes toward your subject and your audience. The right tone is absolutely critical. Control tone, or risk losing your audience.
In general, a positive tone is more persuasive than a negative, sarcastic, humorous or angry one. So write positively, and express confidence and hope, warmth and cheer. If you can do that, and make your readers feel empowered and good about themselves, you will write persuasively.
What other techniques can you think of to make your writing more persuasive? Elizabeth Lexleigh LexPower The Write Ideas